Women’s basketball upsets Penn at home
Saturday night at Leede Arena, the women’s basketball team pulled off a stunning upset, taking down the League-leading University of Pennsylvania 53-50. Just a day after the Big Green (4-20, 1-9 Ivy)  was blown out 87-46 by Princeton University, the team ended an eight-game losing streak with a potentially title-determining upset.

After Friday night’s loss to the Tigers (17-6, 8-1 Ivy), the Big Green players left Leede with heavy hearts and low spirits but were determined, Lakin Roland ’16 said, to look forward. “I think we all made a point to say that was in the past,” she said. “It was over with. We told ourselves we were going to come out stronger, and we did.” Dartmouth, typically a good starter, came out swinging against Penn, up 16-8 with 10 minutes left in the first. The team controlled for the entire game, leading for all but 26 seconds. Dartmouth’s defense was on point going into halftime, forcing turnovers, desperate shots and even shot clock violations for Penn, who came out flat-footed. Despite the fact that Dartmouth could only manage 40 percent from the field, the Big Green’s defense held the Quakers to an abysmal 34 percent, including only 21.7 percent in the first half. “I think that they didn’t come out as strong as they could have,” Schmitt said. Dartmouth weathered every small run the Quakers tried, and continued to build momentum as the game progressed. With a 10-point lead and 10:30 remaining in the game, Dartmouth found itself in prime position to keep the Quakers’ offense at bay with key defensive stops. “As the game progressed, our confidence was building because we were making those critical stops,” head coach Belle Koclanes said. However, the team looked shaky down the home stretch, as two traveling calls helped Penn maintain possession and shrink the gap. A charge put the ball back in the Big Green’s  hands. Penn whittled Dartmouth’s lead to just two with 6:52 on the clock, and a quick foul, Dartmouth’s 10th of the half, put Penn in double bonus. The Quakers could only capitalize on one shot, but they cut the Dartmouth lead to one. Back-to-back fouls by Penn gave Dartmouth a five point swing, but the Quakers answered immediately with a basket. The teams traded baskets until the score was 44-43 Dartmouth. Immediately after, Penn committed its 10th team foul, and the Big Green entered double bonus. With a minute left, Nicola Zimmer ’14 sank one of two free throws, but Dartmouth immediately committed another foul. The Quakers made only one of the two but rebounded the ball for two points, giving Penn its first lead of the game with 47 seconds left, 50-49. The Big Green retook the lead quickly as Zimmer scored a hook with just 21 seconds left to give the Big Green a 51-50 lead. The energy in Leede exploded as fans on all sides took to their feet, screaming, “Defense!” The home court advantage was clear as the fans had a devastating presence on Penn’s offense, which looked out of rhythm all night. Support, Zimmer said, adds fuel to the team’s fire. “It’s huge,” she said. “I mean a lot of teams call it the sixth man. It’s just as much playing a role in our win as much as anything else.” A traveling call gave Dartmouth possession with 5.8 seconds left. The Big Green inbounded the ball to Roland who ran down court and laid up a perfect bucket, bringing the score to 53-50. Penn ran down court and shot a desperate three which bounced off the rim, and the clock stopped with 0.6 seconds left as Penn called a time out. Mike McLaughlin, the Quaker coach, contested the time remaining, adding three seconds back. The additional time would not be enough for Penn to come back. At the final buzzer, Dartmouth led by three. The fans took to their feet as players stormed the court, celebrating their first victory in the Ancient Eight and the end of Penn’s nine-game win streak. “You know what day it is today in sports, don’t you?” Koclanes said. “It’s Feb. 22, the exact same day as the Miracle on Ice in 1980. That was our pregame speech to the team. We showed them the locker room speech before the game. We showed them the final minute of that game with the whole crowd counting down the seconds. And we told them, ‘If we play them 10 times, they might win nine, but not this game.’” The Big Green were done in by strong shooting from Princeton (17-6, 8-1 Ivy) on Friday. The home team could only manage a 38 percent clip from the field while the visitors knocked in 60 percent of its shots. Only two Dartmouth women, Roland and Abbey Schmitt ’15, were in double figures, compared to four Tigers players. The key differences were rebounds and turnovers. The Big Green was on the bad side of both figures, losing the battle on the glass 39-20 and committing five more turnovers than the visitors. The Big Green will hit the road for its last trip of the season this week, visiting Columbia University and Cornell University.
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